Thousands Of Fast Food Workers Walk Off The Job In 60 Cities

Workers are rallying for the minimum wage to be doubled to $15 an hour.

Mariya Pylayev/AOLProtesters in New York's Union Square
Thousands of fast food workers reportedly walked off the job in about 60 cities Thursday to call for a doubling of the minimum wage to $15. The protests mark the largest day of action by fast food workers in the history of the industry, protest organizers told AOL Jobs. The federal minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 an hour, and many industry workers earn salaries close to that figure. (The median wage for front-line fast-food workers is $8.94 per hour, according to the National Employment Law Project, the progressive advocacy group for low-wage workers.) The federal government hasn't changed the minimum wage since July 2009, when the figure was pegged at $6.55 an hour. Workers are also asking for increased full-time job opportunities.

The fast food workers were joined by other low-wage workers from retail giants like Macy's. So far, 15 separate branches of restaurant chains -- including Burger King, Taco Bell and Wendy's -- have been forced to close for the day as a result of their workers walking off their jobs. The protests are being organized by local alliances of labor, clergy and community groups with support from the Service Employees International Union. No arrests have yet been made, according to organizers, but protests earlier this year (such as one in Seattle) did result in arrests.

"Today, our call for $15 an hour and a union was heard across the country," Devonte Yates, a McDonald's worker from Milwaukee, said in a press release. "If the fast-food industry doesn't want our movement to spread any further, it should pay us enough so that we can support ourselves and our families."

The nationwide protest was intentionally scheduled to fall on the day after the 50th anniversary of the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom," when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. The historic 1963 march also called for an increase of the minimum wage. Back then demonstrators called for the minimum wage to increase to $2 an hour, the equivalent of $15.26 today.
Mariya Pylayev and Carla AstudilloTo see the scope of these strikes check out the map above, and click on an icon to learn more.
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A growing movement: Thursday's broad turnout is the clearest sign yet that the fast food protests have made the move from the fringe to the front pages of American life. Fast food workers staged the first multi-restaurant walkouts in November 2012. In the ensuing 10 months, cities including Chicago, Detroit and Kansas City have seen similar walkouts. And just last month, workers walked out of their jobs in seven cities in one action, which before today's was the biggest such protest. The movement has also caught the attention across mass media, with such figures as comedian Stephen Colbert devoting attention to the strikes.

And today workers walked out of their jobs throughout the South, which, according to Reuters, has been a "region that has historically been challenging for organized labor."

The new fast food worker: Serving fast food is hardly a new line of work, so what has galvanized the workers? As AOL Jobs has reported, one result of the recent financial crisis is that full-fledged adults with families to support are now relegated to working fast food jobs that were once the domain of teenagers. Indeed, the median age of a fast food worker is now 28, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics has documented. And about 1 in 4 is supporting a child.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA), the industry lobbying group, argues however that the sector remains one in which Americans can "move up the ladder and succeed," as NRA senior vice president Sue Hensley has previously told AOL Jobs via e-mail. "The industry is one of the best paths to achieving the American dream, with 80 percent of owners and managers having started their careers in entry-level positions," she added in her message, which was in keeping with other statements that have been released by NRA spokespeople.

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Huey Tan

Yeap. German Mark effect of the eventual $1000 bread. $10 burgers and $15 per hour would be cheap.

Look towards a higher priced everything...
Utility, rent, living cost, food, health, don't forget the tax man.... Etc.
Play the pass along prices to everyone else's too.... Yeah!!!

The food stamp welfare people don't care....
They still eat good. Look how well fed they are and some these workers at $ 15 per hour will eat for free while others have to pay for that $10 - $1000 bread.

Yeap... Not a good " futures".

And...

Many BAD returns.

December 04 2013 at 8:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
martinm

fired them all,they dont deserve a job,thats why this country is in this sad shape.

September 05 2013 at 7:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
anitaper

How ridiculous! These entry jobs with training are for getting experience! They were not meant to support a family! Stay in school if you want better jobs! If they get higher pay, expect the jobs to go to better quality employee's! They are putting themselves out of work!

September 04 2013 at 7:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob

maybe they should have stayed in school?? Anyone that thinks part time at McD's is a career deserves what they get

September 04 2013 at 2:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alina

no way 15.00 an hour for making burgers, that take 4 of them to put together an a hour to deliver to your hands?
they must be on drug to even think they get it

September 04 2013 at 8:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nonucantmakemee

fire them all

September 01 2013 at 12:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
steve

I find it amusing when some fast food workers says that need $15 per hour to support their families. While I think that is high but $7.25 is too low. People working in the fast food industry shouldn't expect nor demand that they get paid enough to support their family. My suggestion would be $9.25 an hour, they work part-time and got back to school and get a trade, or a degree, or join the Navy, Air Force or the Coast Guard. I don't think fast-food restaurants have a retirement. For older workers it will give them added income along with their social security. However, the pay level should be above the poverty level that fast-food workers do not have to get food stamps or other assistance. $15 per hour or higher NO.

August 31 2013 at 11:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
tntnorthnj

Many people dont have jobs. count your blessings

August 31 2013 at 11:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
frank1946

No future in $ 10.00 Hamburgers !

August 31 2013 at 9:01 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Cathy

are you people for real??????? Alot of the people that work at these low paying jobs can't find any other work...I guess many of you have no idea how unions work...without unions the wages wouldn't be what they are now...unfortunately with unions dwindling the nuts now want to do away with minimum wages altogether....we seem to be going backward not forward

August 31 2013 at 8:59 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

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